On getting hitched

As much as I like to think of myself as still a spring chicken, my parents and my worsening hangovers would argue otherwise

My parents frequently remind me that I am in my late-20s now, and should be considering getting married and having children.  It’s a moot point really, considering that I don’t even have a serious boyfriend, but they are just so excited at the prospect of having grandchildren.  They have a massive four bedroom house on a lake, and my dad just bought a rowboat and is already entertaining thoughts of taking his grandchildren fishing!  Being the eldest of the kids, I’m clearly feeling the pressure.

Quite a few of my close friends are, or have been, married.  It is a sad fact that quite a few of them have become divorce statistics.  I particularly remember one of my girlfriends, who recently separated from her husband, proclaiming to me during her engagement that her that justification for getting married at the age of 24 was because she knew that this was the guy that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, so why wait?  The thing is that I’m sure she meant it with all her heart at the time, but how quickly things change.

So putting this together with my experience in failed relationships, it just makes me think, how do you know when you’ve met a person that you could actually grow old with?  And say that you’ve met this person – it’s obvious that you have to keep working at the relationship, but how do you know when it’s beyond repair?

Of course, these are all pretty academic questions, and not particularly relevant to my situation right now.  What really got me thinking was my mate Steve who, over lunch, posed the question to me, ‘do you want to get married?’

If you had asked me this question five years ago, I would have quickly answered with a resounding YES!, as most women probably would at the age of 23.  However, I have watched my girlfriends get married over the last few years and seen a fair few fail.  I have also observed that the ones with the highest probability of success (in my opinion!) are those of the more settled personalities – homebody types and comfort creatures.  When I compare myself to these girls, I can clearly see that I’m not like them at all.  In fact, my personality is more akin to the girls who have separated or divorced their husbands – having the burning desire to be anywhere but at home, never content and always seeking adventure, and really feeling that life needs to be actively sought out and experienced.

Then add to this my questioning of marriage as a concept.  Perhaps I’m wrong but, from my point of view, it seems to be a more of a religious thing – being joined in the eyes of God and all that – and I’m not at all religious.  When divorce just seems like such an easy option these days, what’s the point of vowing to love and cherish ‘til death do us part, when it’s really, ‘til I decide I don’t love you anymore?  And do you really need to sign a piece of paper to show this commitment to one another, let alone spend the equivalent of a house deposit on a wedding with all the trimmings?  Considering that it’s so socially acceptable these days to have a long-term committed relationship and kids without marriage, is it really necessary to go through all the legal paperwork?  And for the sake of what?  I just don’t think I see the point.

I am really in such a state of confusion over this topic, and I definitely feel more confused as I get older whilst my feelings against marriage also get stronger.  I feel like I’ve been conditioned all my life to expect marriage, and just assumed that it would happen when I met the right person and the timing was right.  Maybe I just haven’t met the right person?  Maybe I haven’t lived my life the way I’ve wanted before I wanted to have a family? I just don’t know.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a bit of a social outcast, being happily single in my late 20s, particularly when compared to my numerous married friends.  Now I’m reading that apparently ‘freemales’ now outnumber married women!  Sure, it’s absolutely wonderful to be in a loving relationship where you’re both committed to the other’s happiness, but can anyone explain to me why you’d need to take it one step further?

(I had intended on tackling the kids issue too, but this has already become quite the dissertation so will save that for another day!)

* Image courtesy of stock.xchng

Breaking up

Having just recently been dumped, I found Sam Brett’s article about non-lame ways to end a relationship thought-provoking (and the comments too!).  I was fed the good ol’ “it’s not you, it’s me” line.  He probably thought he was doing the kind thing by sparing my feelings of inadequacy. (And does hearing that line make anyone else think of that episode of Seinfeld?)

This was my first time as a dumpee, and it really was horrific to feel like “you’ve been gutted, the knife’s been turned around a few times and your heart’s been ripped out, to never be replaced unless the dumper takes back their painful words”. And I might add that it feels like your ripped out heart has then been thrown on the floor and walked all over by the dumper.

The “it’s not you, it’s me” line is probably the least humane way of breaking up with someone, probably right up there with the “I want you…just not right now” line (sorry ‘em’!) and the “I’m not sure what I’m looking for” line.  Firstly, you have doubts about whether it’s true in the first place, and you can’t help but have suspicions that they are hiding something.  Secondly, it throws up so many unanswered questions if things were going really well and you thought that you are a perfectly suited.  Why would he say that he could see us getting married, but then turn 180 degrees a couple of months later?

Finally, it puts in your mind the idea that if it’s not you, then maybe when he finally sorts himself out then he’ll come running back and leaves you living in false hope.  And this is the least humane part of the line.  It prolongs the denial phase of grief and makes it a lot harder to reach the acceptance phase.

At least with other breakup lines, there are good ways to rationalise the end of the relationship:

I’m seeing someone else” – this means that the dumper was cavorting around with floozies behind your back, so who wants to be with such an insensitive man-slut anyway?

I’m just not attracted to you anymore” – hey, if you’ve put on a little bit of weight and he can’t see past that then he’s a shallow chauvinist that doesn’t deserve you.

You’re too emotional/clingy” – there’s no winning with this one, since most men are emotionally barren.  They think that because you need to cry occasionally to express your feelings that this is a problem with you? Or because you like spending time with him alone, away from his mates, that this means you’re clingy? Give me a break. Remember, emotionally barren!

We want different things in life/I don’t think we’re compatible” – sometimes you do get blinded by love and caught up in the whole relationship that you don’t rationally assess your future together.  He’s probably right and it’s a good thing. Go find someone who wants to share your dreams and destinations, and the journey there.

Being able to rationalise the end of the relationship is just much cleaner and better off for the dumpee.  It allows them to move on sooner because they can more easily detach themselves emotionally from that relationship.  I can’t remember how I dumped my previous boyfriends, but I hope I didn’t use the “it’s not you, it’s me” line.  I suspect I may have, being young and emotionally immature as I was.  I guess it takes being on the other side to realise how damaging it can be.

Breakups are hard enough as it is; better to make it simple and clean.  As ‘a bloke’ says in the comments, “a bit like an execution really”.